Sometimes it feels like there aren’t enough hours in a day. After a long day at work or a stressful day corralling the kids, it can be difficult to muster enough emotional energy to serve those we love.

But what if you were able to serve your family more effectively without adding anything to your calendar? What if all that was needed wasn’t more time, but simply a change in perspective?

Keep reading for three ways you can make that a reality.

1. Prioritize being with them—not just doing for them.

My wife loves it when I take something off her plate. Especially when I do something for her that she was planning to do herself. This is one small way she feels loved and valued.

However, doing things for my wife shouldn’t replace my presence with her. Often, men love providing. We will do whatever we can to make sure our families receive what they need—and even some of what they want.

We are usually thinking, “What can I do for my family?” or “What can I provide that will bring my family joy?”

Providing for our families is a wonderful motive. But in our passion to do things for our families, we can get caught in a schedule that removes us from our families. Our efforts to provide for our families can take us away from our families.

In an attempt to give your family what they want, you could actually be taking away from what they need: YOU. They need you. Your family needs your presence in their lives more than your service. Of course, doing things for them is appreciated and necessary. However, there is something your presence provides that no amount of money, materials, or even manual labor could give.

So, next time something needs to be done (which is always), prioritize being with them, not just doing for them. If you are running errands or working on a project, bring a child with you, and focus on talking to them more than on the task at hand.

2. Turn down something you love to do.

The truest demonstration of love is giving up something you love for someone you love more.

You likely have a hobby or something you do to unwind. Going to the gym, watching the game, going out with the guys. Sometimes it’s just as simple as sitting in your favorite chair when you get home.

However, whenever you love someone, you choose to sacrifice what you love for them.

This is especially true with our time. This means turning down an opportunity to blog, sleep, play your favorite sport or a number of other things you find great joy in. Whatever it might be for you, choose to turn down something you love to do and express your desire to replace that with your family.

Here is a challenge. Turn down something you love to do this week and choose to spend that time with your family. Even if they are okay with you doing whatever it might be, turn it down to show them you care about them more. Imagine the look on your wife’s face when you say, “Instead of me doing_________, I’d like to spend some time with you.”

I bet this will go well for you—and for your family.

3. Celebrate the expected.

What’s expected is rarely celebrated. This is a tragedy. How often do spouses and children serve their families without experiencing the joy that should accompany it? My guess is pretty often.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that, if we don’t celebrate, the response will be anger or frustration. Sometimes, it just means doing what’s expected will produce the intended result, but nothing more. Doing laundry will result in clean laundry. Going to the grocery store will result in food to make dinner. However, without celebration, it won’t be accompanied by relational joy.

Think about it. Whenever you do the unexpected for your family, you experience both the joy of the result and the relational joy that comes with celebration. When you bring home unexpected ice cream, celebration begins! This produces a different type of joy that can only take place as you feel valued and appreciated.

So why not try celebrating what’s normal? The day-to-day victories that aren’t usually celebrated as victories. When you celebrate what’s expected, your family will experience the joy intended from being part of the family. Tasks that used to produce feelings of obligation or indifference become joyful. For your family, this can subtly remind each of you that you aren’t just doing what’s expected—you are serving those you love.

Here is your final challenge: Celebrate something one of your family members does that is expected and normal. This doesn’t have to be extravagant. Next time you get a text message from your wife saying, “I’m going to the grocery store,” respond with something like, “Thanks for doing that. I really appreciate you taking the time to make sure we have yummy food.”

Simply celebrate what they were already planning to do, and they will experience the relational joy they crave.